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Author Topic: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna  (Read 457 times)

Offline Ophyonis

What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« on: February 17, 2017, 01:22:23 AM »
By nature of the work they did, the whores couldn’t afford for their clients to hang around once their business was concluded. Their time was quite literally money—or, well, resources at least since the fall of the Pernese mark. And to be honest, that arrangement suited Ophyonis just fine. He wasn’t some wet-behind-the-ears brat with delusions of sentiment; no, a business transaction worked as well as anything for him. Especially when late hours and snatched hours between shifts meant he didn’t have much time to entertain himself that evening before he needed to get some sleep.

The girl he’d been with had rolled off him almost immediately, pulling on her thin dress and slipping out the curtained door. Since the busiest part of the night was still getting under way, no doubt she wanted to go clean herself and pick up another client. Which, again, worked fine for Ophy. He had a very tired wher in the back of his mind who was growing impatient with being made to wait and wanted to return to their quarters.

What he didn’t expect was to hear the curtain get pushed aside again as someone entered the room.

Ophyonis had his back to the door, but turned quickly at the sound. And, abruptly, he was very glad he’d already gotten his pants back on. His undershirt might still be hooked around both elbows as he moved to pull it on, but at least he wasn’t naked.

That would have been bad.

Tavianna looked as put together and neat as ever, not at all suiting the seedy surroundings. She stood out like a Gold dragon in a patch of whers, and carried herself with the same kind of authority Ophyonis imagined a queen would have. Regal. Commanding.

Dangerous.

He also couldn’t imagine a reason she’d be there unless it was important. Or he’d done something wrong.

Fuck.

Warily, he finished pulling on his undershirt and asked, “What can I do for you?”
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 02:50:35 PM by SirAlahn »

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 01:36:42 AM »
Tavianna lived, essentially, two lives. During the day, she was doting wife and affectionate mother. She cleaned the house, oiled wher, patched clothes, cooked, and tended the home as anyone might expect of a lady Holder wife. She was exceptional at it. It calmed her mind, soothed her nerves, and reminded her every day what she had to lose and why she did the things she did.

Once she put her children to bed, cleaned up in the kitchen, and tended to her husband, Tavianna left her well off house for the butchery. Work needed to be done and she preferred to do it when Tavisk was at her most alert and her children may not need her. Tavianna could focus knowing her babies and husband were safe and asleep.

The business for that particular night was not her favorite. Or even close to the top of the list. She might butcher wher, clean hides, cut meat from bones, or sell off eggs, but all of that she enjoyed. Personnel issues, however, were the things of nightmares.

Her most recent personal guard had been caught betraying her trust and pilfering wher hide to a different supplier. He’d confessed after some extensive questioning and Tavisk had eaten well, but that left her with the need of a replacement. Thorough scouring of possible Peacekeepers that worked with or near her husband – that weren’t too proper – had taken several more days. She’d had to bribe her fair share of orphan to shadow them and collect what she wanted. Schedules, important people, weaknesses, strengths. Most of the men she knew by name, by face, and they knew her.

But she wanted to know more. Could they be useful. Could they be tools.

One man in particular seemed a broken sort. That he was being used by her husband at all was a surprise, but she understood it. Desperate times called for any manner of creature to be used where there was a need. He was a part of a gang, but they were trivial to Tavianna. Customers and thugs. Inconsequential.

That she’d had to meet him in a brothel brought a distinct curl to her lips as she was led to his room. The brothel owner was usually discreet, if only to keep their customers, but when the crooked old man had seen Tavianna he’d nearly fallen over himself to take her to Ophyonis.

She’d arrived just in time for him to be done, it seemed.

The place disgusted her. It was filthy. It stunk. The women were hollowed eyed, walking dead that didn’t even dare look up at her as they rushed past, reeking of the men that had mounted them. Tavianna hated them the most of all.

She was like a Lady Holder walking among refuse. In fine dyed wherhide trimmed in fur, she stepped into the tiny room and eyed the man that she would employ. A small part of her was idly reconsidering. Though she chalked that up to Tavisk hissing and growling at the door downstairs. All Tavianna had to do was whistle and her monster would tear the place apart to get to her.

Tavianna was going to need a hot bath after this. “I’ve had you followed,” she said by way of introduction, looking around the room. Disgust writ in the tiny frown on her lips and the hint of a scowl around her eyes. “Does my husband know you work for a gang?”
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 01:46:01 AM by Tavianna »

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 01:47:00 AM »
Her expression of disgust did not surprise him. This was… not the sort of place Ophyonis had ever thought he’d see her. Sure, she might spend her evenings butchering whers and dealing with all the unsavory things that might entail, but this?

Tavianna’s words only confirmed his wariness. And, eloquently, the first through fifth things he thought consisted of little more than cursing. Heavy application of the word “fuck”. Because sharding fuck. Ophy might not really get afraid like other people did, but he certainly knew danger when he saw it. And Tavianna was nothing if not dangerous.

At least this wasn’t something he had to try to lie to her about. Cause he could imagine how well that would go. Instead, the answer slipped out between his teeth. “Yeesss… He knew before I got into the Peacekeepers.” Quickly, Ophy tucked in his undershirt and reached for his leathers. Better he be at least somewhat presentable sooner rather than later; he doubted the woman would want to stay there for… whatever the fuck conversation this was going to be.

It irked him a bit to know she’d had him followed, and more so that whoever she’d paid to do it had escaped his notice. Drudge brats, maybe? No one ever paid them much mind, but he should have known better. And if Ophyonis caught any of them at it in the future, they would not enjoy the result.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 01:47:59 AM by SirAlahn »

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 02:01:00 AM »
Only once the room no longer held any interest for her, and that didn’t last long, she finally looked at him. Tavianna’s weighted gaze lingered on his face before briefly passing over him. Taking his measure, like she might weigh a half of wher meat for its value, before she looked back to his eyes.

His answer actually made her tilt her head ever so slightly. An indication of surprise, if he knew her well enough. She’d not have thought her husband would dabble with such filth willingly. Tavianna wiped her hands on her hips, as though she’d touched something distasteful, before she continued, “You’re a dutiful enough man, Ophyonis. The only complaints against you are your… heavy hand. Over use of force when it might not be necessary.” Tavianna glanced around, gesturing with a brief wave of her hand. “That and what you do in your spare time is certainly an indication that you lack a certain moral guide.” It would be hard to tell if she was insulting him or not. That is, until she said, “I’ve need of a man like you.”

Tavianna took a breath and regretted the scent that filled her nose. It was really rank there. “Before you answer, or even think about considering, I want to tell you what it would entail. Your gang is little more than a band of grown child thugs. Preying on those less fortunate while festering in that gambling den your leader lives in.” If Tavianna was concerned about insulting such a man, it didn’t show. She wasn’t at all. Who fed them, after all. “I doubt that bothers you and, in reality, it doesn’t much bother me. You know what I do, and you know that those I… employ live a certain way. Better than the tunnelsnakes in your gang’s den. I’m offering that better life to you, so long as you do whatever I have need of.”

Tavianna clasped her hands behind her back, watching him. “If you accept this job, and you fail me, I’ll feed you to my wher. If you don’t want to, I’ll… leave you to your…mmm, life as it is.” She looked around pointedly.

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 02:19:31 AM »
Ophyonis narrowly stifled a laugh—not at her, of course, nor the offer. But to say he lacked a certain moral guide was probably the nicest way anyone had ever called him a nasty son of a bitch. All of which was true. He’d not have lasted long in his line of work if he got hung up on trivial things like morality. All that mattered at the end of the day was that the strong would beat out the weak, and Ophy knew exactly what side he wanted to be on.

The man might be known for having a quick temper, but nothing Tavianna said he took as an insult. He knew well enough how the Holders viewed the gangs, and even better than that the state of things in that way of life.

Ophy’d been raised a drudge; and during his childhood, signing on with a larger, more organized—albeit loosely—group had been a tactic for survival. The gang had treated him well, in its own callous way:  and all of its circumstances that had led him to being a Peacekeeper in the first place. To bonding to Ophysk. No matter his less than fortunate beginnings, Ophyonis had always wanted more. It had been the driving force behind everything he did for turns on end.

Still, he’d give her offer due consideration even if he ultimately already knew his answer. Finishing pulling on his leathers, he rubbed a hand thoughtfully over his jaw. Followed her gaze around their less than impressive surroundings.

For a long time, this had been enough. But turning down a chance like this would just be blindly stupid. Tavianna could offer him more, just as Xerlyle and Notkerric had. And just as importantly, the Lady Butcher was the sort of person he understood on a certain level. He’d not chafe under taking orders from her.

“I wouldn’t expect anything else if I fucked up,” he said after a moment, meeting her gaze just as levelly. “And I’ve never turned down opportunity when it comes knockin’. What’ll you be having me do?” He could guess, but for things like this it was best to have everything laid out straight. To know where the rules were.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 02:27:33 AM »
Tavianna allowed him all the time he wanted. In this, she was not impatient. It would not do to have a man that wasn’t certain about what he wanted or what he was committing himself to. She crossed her arms, a relaxed pose for Tavianna, and just waited.

When he understood the repercussion of failure, and that didn’t faze him, she considered the first step already under way. Anyone who balked at such a punishment didn’t understand the sort of business that Tavianna dealt it. Didn’t understand the world they were living in. Failure of this sort ruined lives, could ruin her family’s lives, and that just wasn’t acceptable.

When he asked what he’d be doing, Tavianna didn’t even flinch. “You understand, I think, that sometimes people take more than they should. Or cross a line that they should not. It’s bad business to tolerate such disrespect. And I am anything but a bad business woman. In simplest terms, you will be ensuring the success of my business through force and aid me in my work in the evening. Consider yourself my assistant, if you want. I don’t care.”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 02:37:16 AM »
Those were definitely sentiments he could understand. For much of his adulthood, he’d been doing much the same thing—for someone different, under different circumstances, for different gains… but Tavianna clearly knew what she was doing. This was what Ophyonis was good at, the only set of skills he’d ever really bothered to cultivate in a world so unkind. People always wanted something for nothing, or something for less than what was demanded of them. And so it always fell to people like him on the other side of that equation to make sure they paid up.

In blood or bones or even life, if it came to that.

Nor was it the sort of thing that had ever given him pause. Another advantage of having no moral guide, he thought in amusement.

So Ophy nodded. His gang’s boss might not be pleased that his loyalties would shift in such a way, but Tavianna and her family were not the sort of people to cross. Ophyonis wasn’t worried. “Simple enough. And from the sounds of it, I don’t guess you’ll care that I’m—what was your phrase? Heavy handed.”

An interesting turn of events, to be sure, but one that he very much favored. 

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 02:46:22 AM »
It seemed she’d caught his attention. Good. She turned on her heel and began to make her way out of the brothel. Being inside of it was beginning to sour her mood and the meeting was actually going well. Tavianna didn’t say anything, she just expected him to follow.

Making her way through the establishment was as easy as it’d been entering. The old man that owned it and his thugs watched her from the shadows, but no one approached. If they’d thought she was there to make trouble, no one said anything. Tavianna didn’t expect them to. She was a class apart, a world apart. Not untouchable, because no one was, but she was relatively certain she was safe there. They were too afraid of her husband and his men to lash out at the insult of her walking through the halls.

Fine by her.

That and there was an annoyed, hissing Gold wher at the door. Tavisk was a monster of a Gold and though she could be restrained by thought alone, she’d been growling and glaring at the doorway the entire time Tavianna had been inside. The flimsy brothel building wouldn’t have stood a chance if Tavianna needed her.

Outside, in the relatively fresh air, beneath the fighting dragons in the sky, Tavianna finally spoke. “I actually prefer that you’re heavy handed,” she remarked, idly making her way toward her butchery. But not quite. Her path seemed to be leading them elsewhere. “I am to assume, because you’re here, that you agree to the job?” Tavianna glanced at him. “I will have you working with me most nights. I’m a busy woman, Ophyonis, and I need someone I can rely on. If you can’t be on time, if you can’t be where I need you or do as I say, then this isn’t the job for you.” In other words, she didn’t need someone lazy.

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 02:57:09 AM »
When Tavianna turned on her heel and walked out, Ophyonis knew well enough to follow. It was a familiar pattern to fall into, after all his turns of guarding, and enforcing, and now walking a beat as a Peacekeeper. Those in the brothel knew him by reputation—and even those who didn’t would make no mistake about what he was in his leathers. And especially not when his hulking Bronze wher fell into step at his side. Ophy spared the creature a touch on his flank as he passed, one of the few affectionate gestures he’d ever spare for anything.

Even he had to admit that the fresh air outside was nice. Despite the char of dragonfire and ash in the air, it still breathed cleaner than the thick and stinking airs of the deep and most crowded tunnels. He took a deep breath of it as he continued to follow Tavianna, and Ophysk did the same. Tired though he still may be, the wher was far more alert now, and relaxed his wings some once they were out in the open space.

“Yeah, I agree. I’d not waste your time with all this if the answer was no.” Which was true enough, and stated matter-of-factly.

As she listed the rest of her requirements, he nodded again. “I get that. People being late pisses me off, so that’s not something you gotta worry about with me.” Most wouldn’t assume it of him based on appearances, but even Ophyonis had a certain sense of pride. And doing poorly at a job just wasn’t something he did. “And I ain’t got no problem doing whatever you might need. No matter what, where, or who it involves.”

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 03:05:11 AM »
Tavisk hissed at the bronze wher. He was an unfamiliar creature and she didn’t want him near Tavianna. She muscled him out of the way, ensuring she was between him and Tavianna. If he wanted to make a contest out of it, she’d damn well do it.

Tavianna paid no mind to her wher or her need to assert herself. Tavisk was doing as she saw fit and she fully expected Ophyonis to pull his own back, as was only proper. Hearing that he had voiced his agreement, she altered her path completely. Not to the butchery now, but toward a certain man who had been supplied with stolen wher hide.

And she wanted it back.

“Good,” she idly remarked and said nothing else until they were in a quieter, darker part of Fort. Where some of the nicer people lived, away from the gangs and dens. Families were trying to sleep beneath the flame filled sky. They stood in the shadows of a home roughly made of stone and clay tile. A nice house, by all accounts, nestled amongst other such houses. Near enough to Tavianna’s own.

“Your first job,” she said softly. “The man inside has stolen wher hide. I want it back and I want him dead.” Tavianna glanced at Ophyonis. “He’s single, but he has a wher.”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 02:49:51 PM »
Ophysk had no drive to challenge the Gold, and so he’d already started to fall back before his handler directed him to follow them at a more respectful distance. The Bronze was used to working with other whers, since the beasts were prized among gang enforcers, wher fighters, and an outright requirement for the Peacekeepers. And though he might have tried to assert his own space over a lower-ranked wher, he’d not do so to Tavisk. Ophysk understood that she was a Queen, could easily kill him, and that Ophyonis was now bound to Tavianna. Whatever trouble there might ever be, it wouldn’t be from him.

The Lady Butcher seemed satisfied enough by his answer, so Ophy said nothing more while he followed her. There were times for talking and times for shutting up, and he’d never met a silence he felt like he needed to fill. Which was also a certain advantage in his line of work. Sometimes, the heavy weight of silence itself did more work than actually being more obvious about threats.

Until he’d become a Peacekeeper, this section of Fort was not one Ophyonis had ever had occasion to go. Even now that he was one, his own duties kept him in the same warren of tunnels he’d been living in since his family first moved out of Nabol and Ruatha. If he was a more jealous or vindictive man, it might anger him to see the vast differences between Holder families like those that lived in this district and the drudge- and gang-folk he’d grown up with.

But to be honest, he didn’t give a fuck. Things were what they were. Bellyaching about them accomplished nothing. And besides, if this opportunity was any indication, he was once again clawing his way toward something better.

He paused when she did, studying the house before them as she spoke. There were no lights burning inside that he could see. Good. Meant the fucker was likely asleep and could easily be taken by surprise.

“Yes, ma’am.”

There were no question to ask. He’d been trained for this. And if he couldn’t complete such a simple task for her, Ophy knew he didn’t deserve to work for her in the first place.

But he wasn’t worried.

Stepping away from her side, he strode up to the man’s door while pulling a small wrap of cloth from inside the pocket of his leather jacket. Picking locks wasn’t a skill he’d had much occasion to use since becoming an enforcer—in part because there were so few locks left in the destitute parts of the Hold, and because breaking down flimsy doors left more an impression than sneaking in usually did. Ophyonis wasn’t a sneak-thief or an infiltrator. But this was still something he knew how to do, and he knew how to judge a situation besides. Making a scene in this part of the Hold would piss Tavianna off just as much as doing anything else sloppily.

Plus, no one else was outside. He had no concerns about being spotted. And even if someone did see something, what would they have to report? A Peacekeeper accompanying a proper lady Holder? Not to mention he was technically retrieving stolen property.

Skirting a wide, respectful berth around Tavisk and her handler, Ophysk joined him at the door. Ophy’d already sent an image-memory of the Bronze previously snapping another wher’s neck and back in a fight to put the other creature down swiftly and as silently as possible. It might be a tight squeeze he didn’t care for, but Ophysk would be the first through the door.

With the thin, jagged metal picks, it didn’t take long for Ophyonis to deal with the lock. Very carefully, once he’d wrapped the bits of metal back in their cloth case and returned them to his jacket pocket, he turned the handle and pushed the door open just a hair. Just so that it wouldn’t catch on the frame. Fortunately, Ophysk was patient and knew to wait until his handler had unsheathed one of his long knives.

The Bronze nudged the door open with his snout then, exhaling a huffed breath as he squeezed himself through the doorway.

The space inside was modest for the district, clearly little more than one room with what was likely a small water closet tucked away in a corner—but even that one living space was vastly larger than what most had in the deep tunnels. That, and it was clean, and didn’t smell of filth. Nor was it cluttered, though that might have had more to do with the lack of resources in the Pass than anything else. But what Ophysk could see in his darkvision and dim flashes of dragonfire—and what he transmitted then to his handler—was that what goods the man did have appeared to be neatly organized. There were shelves. A single table. Even a trunk for belongings at the foot of a bed.

Just next to which lay a slumbering Blue wher on a sleeping couch.

As the strangers entered his space, the beast had started to rouse at the unfamiliar smells, a growl beginning to rumble out of his dark chest. But as it was, it was already too late for him. As soon as Ophysk had cleared the doorframe, he charged, jaws locking around the smaller wher’s throat and crunching threw flesh and bones as he wrenched his head from side to side. The other creature went limp as its spine snapped, and its wetly wheezed breaths ended soon after as the Bronze’s teeth finished piercing through its vessels and airway.

But whatever flash of dying pain it had broadcast woke its handler. In the dark, though, Ophyonis had the advantage. Another flash of searing dragonfire in the sky had illuminated the room just long enough for him to get a good glimpse of the interior. He didn’t even run into the small dining table as he shot past the entrance to the small space serving as the thief’s sleeping area.

His fingers tangled roughly in the man’s hair, and he pulled his head back to expose his throat. Though he started to cry out, the sound died quickly enough when Ophy’s Peacekeeper knife cut open his windpipe.

He let the dying man fall back onto the furs, wiping the blade of his knife off on the bedclothes before sheathing it once more. The trunk had seemed like the most likely place for the stolen wherhide, and sure enough that was where Ophyonis found it when he popped open the box. It was bundled and tied with cord, so he just picked up the whole thing and tucked it under his arm. With a spare shirt folded underneath it, he wiped the blood off Ophysk’s mouth and neck, and the wher preceded him back out of the small house before his handler shut the door behind them.

Quick and neat as you please. Though he did tilt his head thoughtfully back toward the house as he rejoined Tavianna. “You want that wher carcass?” She was a butcher after all, and dealt in leather. If she wanted the dead beast for product, he’d figure out a way to make that work too.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 03:34:02 PM »
Tavianna wasn’t worried about anyone telling on her. People in this area of Fort usually slept quite well. The Peace Keepers here were honorable enough men, but she also knew their patrols. He benefits of being so close to them, she supposed. She was just retrieving stolen property and taking strides to make sure it didn’t happen again.

If they had the time, she’d have requested the wher be brought with them but they didn’t. Tavianna might be vindictive and cruel, but she didn’t want to stir up more trouble than necessary. Getting found outside the house with a body inside of it would only complicate her husband’s life. So, when he offered, she shook her head and simply turned to go. The hide had been reclaimed, which meant she could fulfill the orders owed, and not look  foolish to her other business partners.

Ophyonis’ work had been quick and efficient. Quiet. Just as she’d hoped. If he’d botched this, Tavianna was going to leave him dead with the man.

It wasn’t until they were in the working district of Fort, around some of the shambled crafter buildings and her own Butchery, that she spoke, “I’m pleased with the work you did tonight,” she said, stepping inside. The Butchery wasn’t a complicated building by any means. There were a couple other guards there, but they were to watch the building. Ophyonis would be doing more hands on work. She led him past the small entry room that would barely hold two wher and into the main work space. Old ichor stained the stone where a nice slabbed stone table dominated the center. Chained hooks hung from the ceiling where choice pieces of meat were waiting to be picked up.

It was a whole different type of smell inside the butchery. “If you need anything, or want for anything, you need to let me know,” she said, moving toward a large chest against a far wall. She opened it before gesturing he could drop the hide inside it. “I expect you to be honest with me. If someone bribes you, tell me and I’ll match it. If I find out you’re lying to me…” Tavianna didn’t finish, instead shrugging. He wasn’t an idiot. “I don’t expect you to be loyal out of loyalty sake, but I do reward those that are honest with me.”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 03:55:36 PM »
As she shook her head and turned to go, Ophyonis fell into step behind Tavianna once again. Bronze Ophysk followed up the little procession, the habit an easy one to make now that he knew where the boundaries of things stood with Tavisk. The wher licked his chops as they walked; his handler might have wiped the other wher’s ichor off his skin, but the taste of it was still in his mouth. And he’d realized he was hungry. Firm but not overly insistent, he impressed that feeling upon Ophyonis.

In return, the man replied with the image of Ophysk eating once they were back in their quarters.

The working district was yet another he’d never really had a reason to visit. While it didn’t have the same sense of refinement as the upper class residential areas, there was still a certain gravitas to it. Reinforced all the more by what Tavianna said as they entered her butchery.

However, the smell inside was a whole different thing. He was used to smelling filth, blood, and even occasionally death and rot. But meat processing was understandably dirty and unpleasant work, full of its own detritus. And apparently its own stink. Whatever. He’d get used to it just as he had the others.

Though he didn’t show it, Ophy was pleased she thought he’d done well. When she opened the chest, he set the bundle of hide inside with the care it warranted. Tavianna was a business woman; her product deserved a certain degree of respect if he wanted to keep this job. Which he certainly did.

And he found himself appreciating her bluntness. This was a woman who understood how the world worked and functioned perfectly well within one that could and did regularly break weaker people. “Understood.” If she had more she wanted to ask of him, he’d answer, but Ophyonis wasn’t one to talk just for the sake of it. Her terms were simple and reasonable enough.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 04:09:03 PM »
Tavianna nodded once the hide was secure and everything seemed to be in order. The murder of the traitor from before would likely cause a stir in the morning, but it’d blow over relatively quick. Death happened in Fort and the man wasn’t anyone overly important with important connections. He wouldn’t be missed. His family had already died to an illness sometime past and he’d only been trying to scrape by stealing what didn’t belong to him and leeching off of others.

Tavianna was the wrong woman to leech off of.

She let the chest fall shut as Tavisk settled near the doorway, watching but not overly concerned. This was her domain and anyone allowed inside were generally safe. Usually. So long as Tavianna was relaxed, as she was now that the general rough part of the evening was done, then all the better.

Tavianna hated recruiting. She had been doing this too long to have to do it herself, but someone that would be working alongside her had to be handpicked. She had to be able to trust them. “The rest of my night is going to be… gruesome. I hope you’re not overly squeamish.” Tavianna turned to make her way toward the back room, where the wild wher were kept in cages. They were quiet until she approached, sensing her intent. She paused in the doorway and glanced back at him with what could only be a faintly sly smile. “Would you like to help?”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 04:20:03 PM »
Ophy actually did chuckle then. Blood and gore—or ichor—had never been the sort of thing to bother him,  regardless of its source. “I don’t think I’ve ever been called squeamish in my life.” Even the test job she’d just had him do had been relatively clean compared to some of the more heinous things he’d done to people. Both the wher and his handler had died fast and relatively painlessly. There were others he’d ‘dealt with’ before that had not been nearly so lucky:  and who had taken far longer to die.

He did glance around their surroundings as she led him further into the butchery, noting what rooms he’d seen connected to which. Even eying the wild whers as they shifted restlessly and anxiously in their cages. A gentler man might have felt for their plight, but Ophy was a pragmatist, even bonded to one of the creatures as he was. The Hold needed meat, and they didn’t have a lot of options. He’d eaten both wher and flit before, and while butchery might not be the sort of thing he was actually trained in, he was a quick learner.

So his answer was, “Sure,” with the quirk of an answering smile as he began pulling off the jacket part of his leathers. Ophyonis fully expected that this was going to be messy, and his gear was one of the few things he actively tried to keep clean and in good condition.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 04:35:32 PM »
Tavianna could respect someone who didn’t want to get their own clothes dirty. She was one of those very same people. She moved to another truck where she kept her work clothes, shrugging out of her own fine wher leathers so she was in only a simple tank top, her pants, and she even removed her boots. All her fine clothes were tucked safely in a small chest and her work clothes, stained with old ichor, were pulled on. An old shirt, apron, and boots. She tied her hair back with a length of chord before she gestured to the handful of cages she’d had.

Her butchery had started with a modest three, from a failing shop much like her own now. Currently, Tavianna had ten. Lined up along the walls, holding various color of wher in different stages of growth. All wild, all anxious. Their bars were thick and equally stained, with old bones scattered outside and around the cages. There were also two ‘couches’, like what a wher might sleep on, but instead of being used for such a purpose there were eggs gathered and nested amongst coals to keep them warm. “I’m the only butcher that operates out of this room,” she explained, quite proud of how far she’d come. “But I work in association with others. I’m hardly the only one.” That much should’ve been obvious.

She gestured to the eggs. “I also work with other Gold handlers for eggs. And Wher fighters for additional meat. But it all is run through me.” Tavianna glanced at Ophyonis. “Eventually, if I can actually come to trust you, I’ll have you speak for me during certain situations too. But I want you to understand what it is I do. You’ve likely run into other butchers before, and we all operate a little differently. Some prefer to oversee their operation, some train apprentices like a Craft…. I cut my own meat.”

Tavianna approached the cages and gestured to the space between them. “The doors slide open to the side. Essentially crating a small cage for a person. Just don’t get too close to the bars, obviously. But the wild wher usually run out, sensing freedom and Tavisk… takes care of it from there. Now, shut the door and we’ll cut up one of these big ones over here.”

The wher seemed to be lined up by age. The ones on the far right being the oldest and thus ready for slaughter. Tavisk, sensing that work would need to be done, followed close to Tavianna. The Gold Wher’s eyes were an irritated orange as she eyed all the other wher, some that cowered from her but most hissed and snarled at the bars.

The one wher in question was a thick, muscled Brown that showed no fear as Tavianna approached. Rather, he slammed into the bars and hissed. “Meat has to be processed and sent off relatively quickly or it’ll go bad,” she said offhandedly. “So it’s always best to keep them alive until an order comes in or I need the space.”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 07:00:35 PM »
Practiced as he was with taking the thick leathers on and off, Ophyonis made short work of them. They couldn’t be folded, really, but he did set them aside and out of the way in as neat a pile as he could manage. Lacking any others to change into, he did keep his plain pants and leather boots on, but those wouldn’t be as hard to clean. His sleeveless, undyed undershirt would probably get splattered with ichor, but he had others. And besides, even if it did end up permanently stained, it’d be hidden under his clothes and armor anyway.

Ophy listened attentively while Tavianna talked, nodding at intervals to indicate he followed what she said. He knew something of her by reputation, because people talked, but it impressed him that this refined Holder lady would be just at home butchering whers herself as tending her own household. He already knew she was someone to be respected, someone dangerous, but his estimation of her rose several notches at that information. Ophyonis appreciated people who didn’t mind doing their own dirty work when needed.

Ophysk did not want to leave his handler in that room, but Ophy managed to shove the Bronze out of the way and close the door as Tavianna directed. He impressed upon his bonded that he’d be fine, in a wordless confidence as well as the knowledge of Tavisk’s presence. The ferocious Gold could no doubt take care of any of the wher in that room, and Ophyonis doubted Tavianna would let him get mauled when he was still useful to her and hadn’t done anything to earn her ire.

So he returned quickly enough to that side of the room, eying the Brown wher throwing himself against the bars. “That makes sense. Wouldn’t be practical to have it sitting around spoiling”

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 09:58:29 PM »
Tavianna watched the Brown wher. “You can usually tell when they’re aware as to what’s going to happen,” she said before shrugging a little and ushering Ophyonis between the cages, mindful of the wher to either side. Tavisk took her spot a wher’s length in front of the Brown. She was braced, tense, and her eyes were no longer orange but a stark, angry red.

A heavy latch was lifted and Tavianna had to pull to release the wher. Some cowered, very few were tentative, but this Brown burst forth with a blast of energy. Tavianna could feel his aggression, but it was nothing to the stone-walled confidence and affection that was Tavisk in her mind. The Gold waited for the Brown, who hit her like he’d been thrown into a wall.

An angry wall that bit back and used her superior size and strength to drag him to the ground by his face. There was a sickening crunch of bone when the wher’s face was destroyed in the mouth of her Gold. He couldn’t even keen in pain. Tavisk was on him quick, shifting to rip into the brown wher’s throat to put the creature out of its misery.

The fight, if it ever was a fight, was over in a flash of violence.

Tavisk’s eyes returned to a cool blue in a rapid blink and she purred for Tavianna as her handler approached the carcass. “Now, let’s cut some of the choice pieces here and feed the rest to the wher.” She gestured toward a wall where some knives and bone saws were hanging. “You’ll need one of those.”

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2017, 09:50:58 PM »
Watching the Gold wher rip into the Brown was an impressive sight. Ophyonis had seen whers fight before, of course; the gambling den that his gang had run for so long also financed and hosted pit fights for the beasts, but in those instances it was like against like in terms of color. Otherwise, the fights simply weren’t fair.

But this was a thing of beauty. Violent, ichor-drenched, but beauty nonetheless. Tavianna’s Gold operated with a brutal efficiency, and even the overwhelming rage of the Brown was no match for her. As quickly as he’d barreled out of his cage once Tavianna had lifted the latch, it had been over. There’d not even been any noise, save for the beast’s initial snarl and the crunch of Tavisk’s teeth as she first crushed part of his skull and then tore out his throat.

And once it was over, the large wher she’d just killed was just another hunk of meat. It’d be vastly different than cutting up people, which he’d done before, but it’d be something new.

When Tavianna directed him to the wall of tools, Ophy selected both one of the knives and the bone saws. He set the latter aside for the moment, being more comfortable with the familiar feel of a knife than anything else. “Where do we start?”

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2017, 10:31:13 PM »
Tavianna drew her own knife. Getting a fine blade was hard to come by, but she tried to take good care of her tools. Turns upon turns of work had taught her that a sharp knife meant cleaner cuts, and easier cuts.

“We skin the wher first.” She knelt next to the dead animal and pushed the Brown onto its side, which took some effort. “Try not to damage the hide, as I get more profit from the leather than I do the meat beneath. Now, there’s a layer of fat… very thin… between the skin and the muscle or.. whatever beneath. That’s what you’re going to cut. Pull the skin tight and you can see.” Tavianna demonstrated, using her sharp blade to start skinning the wher. “Be mindful around the appendages and joints. It’s tougher to peel the skin, but we want to preserve as much as we can. You work your way toward the head, I’ll make my way down the other side.”

Tavianna was not shy about getting ichor all over herself, neither was she squeamish about cutting out the organs that they could neither use nor eat.

Spoiler for OOC:
my knowledge of butchery is rudimentary at best, and I'm going off of this and my knowledge of skinning from anatomy class XD

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2017, 11:15:32 PM »
It further impressed Ophyonis that Tavianna could manhandle something as large and heavy as a dead Brown wher herself. Yes, there was definitely more to this Holder woman than anyone would guess. More and more, he was realizing that he’d made a good choice in accepting her offer. Already, it was shaping up to be one of his more interesting jobs.

He watched her intently as she demonstrated her instructions, further approving of her neat and precise knifework. Not that he thought telling her such would be a good idea. It’d probably just come across as patronizing.

Instead, Ophy simply said, “Yes, ma’am,” and turned toward his half of the work. Pinching the skin as she had, he cut a neat slice into the wher and began gently peeling back its rough, leathery hide as Tavianna did. Skinning something wasn’t a task he’d ever had to do before, but it seemed simple enough. Plus, since he’d been using knives more or less as part of his livelihood since he was a child, Ophyonis had confidence in his ability to not nick or tear the leather.

Spoiler for OOC:
Is all good. XD That works for me.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2017, 11:22:31 PM »
Skinning a wher was a messy, and long, process. Especially a brown. After the first joint of the legs, Tavianna simply cut the skin around so she could keep going. She’d saw the legs off and feed them to the wher in the cages. The work, all told, took them the better part of a mark before, coated in ichor, she stood and retrieved her own saw.

Sweaty but not tired at all, she gestured to the hulk of wher that was now skinned. “The hide needs to be rolled up and put on the pile. We’ll deal with that after be handle the carcass. The meat will go bad before the hide. Now, we saw off the legs where we left the hide. Just toss them to the wher in the cages…” Tavianna stood over the skinned animal and started on its head. “I’ll show you the other cuts, but I won’t have you help me with them. They’re… particular. But the organs I’ve tossed to the side you can feed to the wher too. Yours might like them too.”

This part of the job was especially easy because discarding scraps was just brunt work. Cutting and carving meat from bone required a bit more refined work. Not that Tavianna didn’t enjoy that any less.

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2017, 09:34:09 PM »
The skinning took quite a while, but Ophy was no stranger to long, difficult, and sticky work. So it was with diligence, and without complaint, that he finished helping Tavianna skin the beast. He found it interesting, if nothing else, and all the more satisfying for learning to use a knife in a way he hadn’t before. If Tavianna decided to have him do such work for her again, Ophyonis certainly wasn’t going to complain.

Her further instructions made sense too. Wiping the ichor off the blade of the knife, he set it aside and picked up the saw she’d had him collect before. The teeth on it were sharp and vicious—and no wonder, if it had to cut through the tough muscle and bones of watchwhers.

Cause he was curious, and didn’t want her to think he wasn’t listening, he dared to ask a question while he gripped the first of the dead wher’s leg and started to saw at the joint, steady and firm so as not to slip and tear any of the meat on the main trunk of the body. “Are certain cuts better on the different colors?” From the flits he’d eaten in the past, the littler ones tended to be stringier than the big ones. Even if Tavianna didn’t have him ever doing the same butchery cuts she was going to do, it’d be the sort of information worth knowing.

Offline Tavianna

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2017, 05:52:23 PM »
The extended parts of the legs were no good for human consumption and, as she cut off one end of a leg, she tossed it to a wher. Only then did she answer. “Not necessarily. The larger the wher, obviously the more meat. But the cuts are about the same. Just either bigger or smaller.” Once that part was done, she moved to a chain that was attached to the ceiling. There was a spreader bar at the end, and through it hooks so that a carcass could be hauled up. For this she used Tavisk. No matter how wiry and strong Tavianna might be from her turns at butchering wher, she would not be able to lift the dead weight of a carcass. The chain was hooked up to a pully in the ceiling so she could haul the meat up and, with Tavisk’s help, lift it.

The Gold wher already knew her part in this. She readily took her position as Tavianna hooked the meat hooks of the spreader bar into the back legs of the wher, behind the joints where it’d hold the weight of the beast before indicating he should move out of the way. Wouldn’t do to have him get bumped by a carcass. With the hooks in the meat, Tavisk with the chain, the Gold hauled the skinned wher up until Tavianna mentally told her to stop. There was a loop and hook in the floor that she caught the excess chain in to keep the wher up. As she secured the chain, she idly remarked, “Put all the guts we didn’t keep in the bucket there and distribute them to the wher. They like the organs and such. The other stuff that can’t be used, in that other pile, will need to be taken out.” The intestines and bowel that nothing could eat would have to be disposed of. Another task Tavianna could assign him, she supposed.

Once the chain was secure and the skinned hunk of meat was hanging, she stood back and admired their work thus far. Skinned, gutted, and now hanging so she could begin the cutting process. She was always proud to get it this far. 

Offline Ophyonis

Re: What Brings You Here? [ 05.01.2583 / 10:45 PM ] || Tavianna
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2017, 02:27:25 PM »
“Makes sense.” Once they’d finished with sawing off the legs, Ophyonis moved out of the way when she motioned for him to. And as Tavianna had, he tossed the unusable limbs to the whers still in the cages. To someone else, feeding the still-growing beasts with their dead brethren might seem cruel; to him, it just seemed practical. The whers themselves certainly didn’t seem to mind, as they dug into the meat with enthusiasm.

Gathering up the organs she hadn’t elected to keep was messy, but that didn’t bother Ophy either. He was already stained with ichor, so what was a bit more on his hands? Even the slimy, still slightly warm texture of them didn’t bother him. By the end, he was holding a bucket full of soupy gore. As with the limbs, he was careful not to get too close to the cages as he tossed the bits to the caged beasts. Ophy even saved one ichor-soaked mass—he had no idea what organ it really was and didn’t care—for his own Bronze, which was more than happy to devour it in the doorway at a respectful distance from Tavisk and her Handler.

Only then did he turn back to the woman and gesture to the pile of coiled intestines. “There a particular something you move them in, and where do they need to be taken?” Since Tavianna hadn’t moved to do so, Ophyonis guessed that’d be something she wanted him to do too. Either before or after she demonstrated butchering the carcass, he didn’t care.

 

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